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October 13, 2012After Kansas' 20-14 loss to Oklahoma State, Charlie Weis did what he admittedly never does, he walked over to the student section to applaud.
In a game that featured an hour long weather delay, a quarterback change, and a near upset comeback victory, Weis wanted to thank the dozens of students who had stayed.
In return, the students chanted back, "Wet with Weis," a phrase Weis used the previous night at Late Night to invite the students to brave the elements at Saturday's game. It was a small moment, but maybe the start of a change in the perception of Kansas football.
"Ever since I have gotten here the fans have wanted a reason to root for us," Weis said.
Weis gave the fans a reason to cheer as the second half progressed. In the middle of the third quarter, Weis told quarterback Mike Cummings to be prepared to go into the game and replace Dayne Crist if the offense stalled again.
Sure enough, the offense went three out and Cummings was thrust into the game. Weis afterwards said the team needed a spark.
"I had dialed up my call sheet already and was grasping for what I could do to get going," Weis said. "If you don't have much inventory left on the call sheet, then the one area is you can change the personnel."
The change breathed new life into the offense. Running back James Sims began to pick up steam and ran for almost 100 yards in the fourth quarter alone. The offense rattled off 14 straight points and had Oklahoma State in their crosshairs. The energy along the Kansas sideline began to change.
"The first three quarters it was down and just a real lull because of the delay and everything," wide receiver Andrew Turzilli said. "We were out of it and then the fourth quarter happened and it struck our offense and defense. Everybody was really excited and we wanted to win that game."
The comeback of course would fall flat and Oklahoma State would hold on for a 20-14 win. Weis' theme after the game was that for the first time this season Kansas had won a fourth quarter.
"He just told us that the last few games in the fourth quarter we had been getting our butts kicked," Turzilli said. "This fourth quarter we came out and beat them. It was a big change and a turning of the corner for us."
Defensively, Kansas quietly played one of their stronger games of the year. They did so without strongside linebacker Tunde Bakare who had suffered a head injury earlier in the week. Weis held him out as a precautionary measure. Jake Loved took most of the snaps at that spot.
"In today's age of football if you bang your head and get a little woozy, then you just don't play," Weis said. "It's nothing that you can mess around with."
KU's defensive line bounced back after getting manhandled a week ago against Kansas State. They won the battle in the trenches which freed up the linebackers and safeties to make tackles. Oklahoma State's Joseph Randle was held to less than 3 yards per carry.
"KU was more physical up front in the run game than we were," Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. "We got our shoulders turned and we didn't get off on linebackers. Up front, they won the battle."
Kansas now has to prepare against an Oklahoma team that had no trouble demolishing Texas. The big question this week is who will start at quarterback for Kansas. Weis was noncommittal after the game.
"We have to honestly evaluate where we are right now what gives us the best chance of winning," Weis said. "Whatever that answer is that's where we will go."